One of poker’s more well-known vloggers earned his first major live tournament victory and a six-figure score to go with it.
Last weekend, Ethan Yau, known for his “Rampage Poker” YouTube channel, took down the $1,100 Mid-States Poker Tour Venetian main event. Yau, who also won a World Series of Poker bracelet during the 2020 online series, bested a 1,741-entry field to earn the title and $230,379, the largest score of his career.
The final three players agreed on an ICM chop, which gave Yau the lion’s share of the prize pool. Jeremy Felicetti earned the runner-up finish for $163,641 and Mickey Ma claimed third place and an even $160,000.
Most of Yau’s content on YouTube is based around his adventures playing cash games. After initially playing $1-$3 and $2-$5 no-limit in the New England area, he recently began traveling around the country and hopping in high-stakes games.
“This feels awesome,” Yau told PokerNews reporters after the victory. “I really love the tournament grind and battling it out with some of the best poker players.”
He also admitted that his live tournament experience is limited, but said that in the big spots, Lady Luck had his back. The well-timed positive variance inspired him to play more tournament poker in the future.
“It was a really tough field with a lot of really good players,” said Yau. “I know not having as much experience in tournaments didn’t help me, but I had such a good time playing in this event and was able to run good when it counted. I will definitely be playing more of these in the future without a doubt.”
The final table was actually set late on Day 2 and Bradley Beetz hit the rail before the day’s end, which left the remaining eight players coming back on Day 3 to battle it out for the title with everybody looking up at Boris Kolev on the leaderboard. Yau was one of the several players bunched together below Kolev, while Nick Ahmadi was the clear short stack with just six big blinds.
Ahmadi laddered up the payouts when Thuy Nguyen got his last nine big blinds into he middle preflop with AQ against Robert Clark’s 109. The flop came 10-high and Nguyen never improved on the turn or river which sent him home in eighth-place for $33,601.
Just a minutes later, Ahmadi got his short stack into the middle with K5 against Kolev’s Q10. The Q92 vaulted Kolev into the lead. The J turn and the 3 river officially eliminated Ahmadi.
Then Yau got the best of World Poker Tour champion Ilyas Muradi. Yau raised on the button and called a 14-big blind jam from Muradi out of the small blind. Yau tabled A8 and was in a dominating spot against Muradi’s A6.
The board ran out A9479 and the most accomplished tournament player at the final table earned $55,442 for his efforts.
Following Muradi’s exit, Yau held a commanding chip lead, followed by Kolev. Felicetti, Ma and Clark all had sub 20-big blind stacks and were neck-and-neck for both third in chips and the short stack. Early into five-handed action, Clark turned the nut straight against Yau’s top two pair to put a dent in Yau’s lead, but the early double up didn’t prevent him from being the next player eliminated.
Ma doubled through Clark with A10 against Q10 and got in an eerily similarly dominating spot to send Clark to the rail in fifth. Ma picked up A10 and got all the chips into the middle against Clark’s K10.
The QQJ8Q runout secured Clark’s fate and gave Ma enough chips to survive long enough to make the eventual ICM deal.
Kolev, who was the chip leader at the start of the day’s action just a few hours earlier, found himself as the short stack. He raised to nearly his entire stack with A3 and then called off his last few big blinds when he was raised by Yau.
Yau was in a great spot with A7 and flopped Kolev nearly dead on the 876 flop. The 6 came on the turn, which meant Kolev was officially drawing dead to the meaningless 4 river.
Yau held a massive chip lead at the start of three-handed play, while Felicetti and Ma were close in chips, but far behind the YouTube star. According to the live updates, it was Felicetti was began the chop discussions and after looking at the numbers, the final three players agreed to a deal that gave Yau the trophy and the biggest score of his young career.
Final Table Results: